Moving on up? If you are ready to dive a little deeper and take your artwork business to the next level, then keep reading. By now, if you read my last article on Marketing Your Art Online For Free you should have some idea of what worked best. The best practice for me is trial and error because you are exploring each avenue and learning invaluable lessons each step of the way.
- Get some Business Cards. For a tiny investment and to add some solidity to your online business, I highly recommend having some printed. I have been using Moo.com for many many years because they are cheap, use my original designs, and are about half the size of a normal business card so they stand out. When you are approaching shops/people locally (don’t worry, I get into that later) you want to present yourself professionally and have something to pass on to people. Often when I am out shooting people come up to me with questions about photography, to ask if I am with the press, or just for casual conversation. Once while shooting a local carnival at night I asked one of the game operators to pose for me and permission to take his photograph. I gave him a business card so he could look at the photos the next day after I posted them. This sort of face to face contact with people will open leads for you if they are ever looking for, or know someone who may need a photographer.I also include them in all of my online print orders for repeat buyers!
- Flyers. Design your own, use a print service, or purchase templates online. Post the flyers on community bulletin boards locally to connect with other artists, and to offer up your services or art. I spend a lot of time at Pearl Art Supply and they have a board that you can leave your business cards or flyers on in the store. Every time I’m there I make sure to check it out. This is more free advertising but the cost of the flyers depending the route you go is going to cost you one way or another, but still not very much. You can some times speak to a stores manager and ask to leave a few business cards to flyers on the registers or at the service desk and usually they don’t mind. Most independent stores are welcoming to connect like minded people; tattoo shops, record stores (yes, they still exist!), coffee shops, etc. If you are really brave you can even leave flyers or cards on cars in a shopping area that might suit your target audience. I don’t recommend it because I, personally find that annoying when I know people have been touching my car without my permission, but if your will is strong enough, as long as it’s legal in your area..why not?
- Craft Fairs. Booths at a craft fair will normally run you anywhere from $25 to $50+ depending on the size and area. There are also a lot of people competing for the spot and not everyone’s applications are accepted. In South Florida, where I live there are a few groups of people who put these on and trying to get in can be fierce and a long wait. In addition to an investment to rent the space you will need to have plenty of products of varying prices and style, time, effort and confidence to set up your shop and get ready to sell it to people. You get a lot of out of it though and meet friends along the way. You will want to have flyers or business cards for the fair as well to hand out to people so they can visit your website later. It can be frustrating and intimidating at first, but don’t give up easy!
- Local Shops/Wholesale. Is that a shark? *gasp* Whew, just some driftwood. If you have been busy shooting, crafting, painting, or whatever it is that you do and you have lots of stock just lying around and some free time, why not try local shops that might want to carry your work. It’s a hard sell to them and you need to be ready to answer any questions they may have as well as sign a legal contract or two. This is the more serious side of things. The store is likely to want a cut, or may charge you for the space in their estab-listment. It’s best that you have have a name for yourself, and a way to provide more product on demand when needed. I don’t have much experience in this department because I haven’t reached that point yet, but I’m working on it. It doesn’t hurt to try and I’m almost sure that you will get turned down a lot, but that’s no reason to give up..just keep swimming.
- Paid Advertisement. Local magazines, coupon traders, newspapers, and online blogs can yield you an epic amount of exposure for your craft but it can be very pricy. Most popular and successful craft bloggers offer up monthly (or more) advertisements at a minimal cost for varying budgets. Like craft fairs, you may have some trouble landing a spot or waiting a while to get in. My best advice is to be ready to sell yourself. Write an artist’s statement, have samples of your work, both digitally and physical, along with all of your websites, blogs, shops in order and ready to send. If you do go the route of buying ad space on a Blog make sure you ask how many unique hits they are getting daily/monthly and how successful are most people when advertising on their website. The only stupid question is the one that goes unanswered. Remember that you are making an investment so getting as much information as you can to help you make the right choice is the best weapon to have in your arsenal. Printing a small ad in the newspaper now a days is still an option but many offer cheaper rates for advertising online so make sure to do your research before committing.